Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Top Ten Films of 2013

My annual top ten list was published in The Dispatch this past Thursday. Here is the full list:

1
LEVIATHAN
(Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel, UK)

"The cameras are even freed from the bounds of normal movement, thrown from the ship on tethers, skipping along the waves in ways that provide a truly unique and stunning visual experience that completely changes the cinematic paradigm. No other film this year approached its sheer formal audacity, and the result is a documentary that transcends the medium and revolutionizes the form."

2
THE ACT OF KILLING
(Joshua Oppenheimer, UK)

"It begins as a sobering look at what motivates and corrupts the human spirit to the point they could commit such atrocities, but when the murders put themselves in their victims’ shoes during the reenactments, becomes something even more profound; a look at a group of cold blooded killers coming to grips with the gravity of their sins. Watching that dawning realization of extreme guilt makes for an extraordinarily moving, and cathartic experience."

3
12 YEARS A SLAVE
(Steve McQueen, USA)

"From the stunning performances by its tremendously talented cast (led by a jaw-dropping turn by Chiwetel Ejiofor), to the hauntingly observant direction by McQueen that finds beauty even in the ugliest of events, “12 Years a Slave” is a raw, unblinking look at one of the darkest chapters of American history that is destined to go down in history as a modern classic."

4
SPRING BREAKERS
(Harmony Korine, USA)

"Director Harmony Korine assaults us over the top sex and violence, slyly playing on the demands of a hungry audience, turning their demands for more into a resounding, neon-lit condemnation of the culture of spring break hedonism. Are you not entertained?"

5
THE WIND RISES
(Hayao Miyazaki, Japan)

"Using gorgeous hand drawn animation (something all too rare these days), Miyazaki tells a tender story of a man who conceived something beautiful, only to see it used for death and destruction."

6
THE GREAT BEAUTY
(Paolo Sorrentino, Italy)

"At once feverish and elegant, debauched and spiritual, “The Great Beauty” is a gorgeous paean to artistic inspiration and societal decay masquerading as intellectualism and spirituality."

7
THE GRANDMASTER
(Wong Kar-Wai, Hong Kong)

"Gorgeously photographed, Wong creates an intoxicating exploration of love and honor with the grace and elegance of a ballet."

8
BEFORE MIDNIGHT
(Richard Linklater, USA)

"An honest, beautifully rendered portrait of true love, not in the cinematic fairy tale sense, but in the real sense, as their love settles into something more deeply felt than either realizes. Linklater reminds us why Celine and Jesse are perhaps the most real and meaningful couple ever to grace the silver screen."

9
WELCOME TO PINE HILL
(Keith Miller, USA)

"Simple, organic, and never manipulative, Miller's agreeably sparse style never veers into maudlin territory, creating a straightforward and quietly shattering experience. An incredible American indie."

10
LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE
(Abbas Kiarostami, France)

"Brilliantly assembled, Kiarostami constructs the film with the eye of a consummate craftsman, slowly, elegantly peeling back layers of identity, with haunting results. A beautiful enigma."

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, Austria), Upstream Color (Shane Carruth, USA), Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche, France), At Berkeley (Frederick Wiseman, USA), To the Wonder (Terrence Malick, USA), Drug War (Johnnie To, Hong Kong), All is Lost (JC Chandor, USA), Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve, USA), Gravity (Alfonso Cuaron, USA), Short Term 12 (Destin Cretton, USA)

2 comments:

Kelly Zauber said...

I was thinking maybe Frozen or The Hunger Games will be included on the list. But perhaps it's not one of those type of movies you like.
Anyway, I like 12 Years of Slave and Before Midnight. I would love to watch it in a big screen but in my own home. I hope my Austin TX home theater will be finalized soon.

Matthew Lucas said...

I liked both of those films, just not enough to put them on my top ten list. I'm sure I'll revisit them several times over the years though.